The Decline of Vedic Heritage-2 (Sri Aurobindo’s Views)
As the European Scholars had no proper access to the realm of Spirituality of Veda they had to divert their attention upon the ethnic and sociocultural background of the Indian race and focused their view upon the tradition of customary rituals like YAJNA, KARKAKANDA of the Vedic system with more vigil and invented their own method of interpretation of the occult language of Veda within the periphery of their limited material knowledge. Their imagination forged ahead of expectation and their efforts were centred on a probe into the prevailing society of ancient India, the multilingual base and traditions. They could not understand the significance and importance of multilingual vast Indian society whose sole purpose was to live in an unshakable bond of harmony and mutual good will in spite of varied dialects and ethnic divisions.
They could no more fathom deeper into the picture of India as a divine race of unity in diversity which made rather compelled them to fabricate stories of imagination like the Aryan Invasion of the North and the Dravidian one in the South which though had served their purpose to a great extent but changed the topic of History of Ancient India in an extremely detrimental manner. There was no such reference of such Invasions in the History of Ancient India or the classical Indian literature. As per their views, the Vedic society was the worshipper of Gods of Nature i.e. Nature Gods like Sun, Moon, Rain, Cloud etc which was of barbaric origin and most crude rites. They were also of the view that the Gods of Nature were appeased by the traditional rituals and sacrifices of the primordial status of which Indians were too proud of and cherished it as the highest kind of apotheosis.There had been evidence of worship of different forces of Nature in the context of world civilization and India was no exception to it. The Gods of nature were given high reverence and regard in Greek Mythology apart from Veda. But the European Scholars were not aware of the fact of the existence of the double aspect of Nature- one exterior and one hidden behind the veil of normal human intelligence. For example, Pallas Athene, the Dawn Goddess springing in flames from the Sky-God described in Greek Mythology was recognized to be the Goddess Minerva representing knowledge and wisdom, arts and crafts of the Romans more or less identical with the river Goddess Saraswati of Veda associated with the wisdom of the faculty of intuition. Apollo served as Sun God in Greek Mythology, inspirer of the creative art of Poetry and Intuition. Thus there always remained a higher and richer significance behind the outward feature and appearance of a Mythological God both of Indian and Greek origin. As civilization advanced a corresponding change also took place in the prevailing society and Vedic Mythological Gods were soon replaced by a pantheon of PURANIC Gods with the advent of the Age of PURANAS. The Gods of Trinity, Vishnu, Rudra and Brahma assuming greater responsibility of discharging the functions of the Universe had the actual source in the Vedic origin of Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati but still the predominance of RIK VEDA was evident over the later PURANIC developments to overshadow the cryptic images of Veda which did not give enough scope to Deities of PURANAS to come to forefront. As per Gods of Greek Mythology, there was a dearth of evidence for their existence through material texts like ancient literature regarding the original features of Gods of Greece and Rome.
As civilization was on progress there resulted in a simultaneous development in the cultural outlook of life of man as he began to become more aware of a superior life existing beyond his gross physical. Men of the new progressive race wanted to go deep into studies of their original esoteric background in their awakened mental consciousness and they wanted to study their religion and Deities with the finer and subtler significance in their quest for the spiritual origin of human life on earth. At this stage arrived a higher type of individual called Mystics whose unique and exemplary role in society was worth mentioning. The Mystics were spiritually awakened visionary Seers who have cast a far-fetched influence upon the general thinking of the wide mass. The Mystics belonged to the Age of Mysteries existing all over the world probed deep into life and its higher aspects and ultimately delivered the message of certainty and inevitability of a spiritual life upon earth beyond the limits of Matter and Mind. They had revealed the sublime significances of outward rituals, their symbolic meaning and the hidden lore behind the appearances of prehistoric religions. The Mystics existed everywhere in the world; they were known as Orphic and Eleusinian Mystic in Greece, Priest and occult lore and magic in Egypt and Chaldea, the Magi in Persia and Rishis in India. They had revealed the higher secrets of Nature and human life upon earth and they have experienced, lived and realized the Ultimate Truth. They had acquired mastery over Nature and her operating forces in the Universe and they knew how to utilize them for the higher purpose of the welfare of humanity. They had gained Knowledge of the Self which was to be used in universal context in the forward march of the evolution of consciousness of man in the true spirit of the spiritual endeavour. They had complete control of all forces of Nature and knew how to operate them at their will owing to the strictest spiritual austerity practised by them in the absolute and untainted purity of body, mind and soul. The knowledge was termed as OCCULT very much unlike that of Black Magic and Sorcery. The acquisition of the Knowledge of the Self was their passion and in proper time they used to pass the rare knowledge to the real and true follower-cum-disciple of the path so as to maintain a successive heritage of the genuine spiritual discipline of an evolved man. Their language was uncommon, cryptic, shrouded by symbols and indirect references only accessible to the matured spiritualized intellect of an intuitive disciple. For it was very dangerous and detrimental to deliver the secret of Knowledge of the Self to immature persons lacking in purity of mind and body as there was every chance of the misuse of the rare knowledge which was harmful both to the master and the disciple. The Age of Mysticism aimed to work at the recovery and revival of the ancient esoteric culture of Veda to a great extent and it prevailed for a certain period in the post-Vedic Era. (to continue….)